U.S. Team Wins Gold Medal At IWWF U21 Water Ski Worlds
by Scott N. Atkinson
The U.S. U21 Water Ski Team won the overall team gold medal and five U.S. athletes combined to earn six individual medals in respective events at the 11th IWWF World Under 21 Waterski Championships, June 14-17, at Boca Laguna in Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico.
The United States tallied 8,082 points in winning the gold medal for the eighth time in the history of the biennial event. Chile earned the silver medal (7,608.11 points) and Australia claimed the bronze (7,044.26 points). Athletes and teams from 20 countries competed in the four-day tournament as the world team title and world individual titles in slalom, tricks, jumping and overall were at stake.
Members of the 2023 U.S. U21 Water Ski Team were: Jake Abelson (Holderness, N.H.), Alexia Abelson (Holderness, N.H.), Blaze Grubbs (Rio Linda, Calif.), Kennedy Hansen (Milton, Fla.), William Roberts (Dow, Ill.) and Annemarie Wroblewski (Toledo, Ohio).
April Coble-Eller (Lillington, N.C.) served as the coach, Erin Kalkbrenner (Maize, Kan.) was the manager, and Mary Beth Wroblewski, M.D. (Toledo, Ohio), was the team physician.
Hansen won the gold medal in women’s overall, tallying 2,786.30 after earning scores of 3 buoys at 38 feet off in slalom, 9,080 points in tricks and 147 feet in jump. She also won the gold medal in women’s tricks, scoring 9,080 points in the finals after earning the top seed with a score of 8,530 points in the preliminary round. Wroblewski won the gold medal in women’s slalom, scoring ½ buoy at 39-1/2 feet off in the finals. Alexia Abelson earned the bronze medal in women’s tricks, scoring 7,440 points. Jake Abelson earned the bronze medal in men’s overall, tallying 2,443.67 points after earning scores of 3 buoys at 38 feet off in slalom, 10,840 points (fourth place) in tricks, and 154 feet in jump. Edward Roberts (Dow, Ill.) earned the bronze medal in men’s jumping with a distance of 184 feet.
Additional world champions were: Chile’s Agustina Varas, women’s jump (162 feet); Chile’s Martin Labra, men’s overall (2,644.08 points); Canada’s Charlie Ross, men’s slalom (1 buoy at 41 feet off); Mexico’s Patricio Font, men’s tricks (11,910 points); and Argentina’s Tobias Giorgis, men’s jump (196 feet).
The United States has won the Under 21 world team title in 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2021 and 2023. France won in 2007, Canada won in 2017 and Great Britain won in 2019.
The Ski Nautique was the official towboat of the 11th IWWF World Under 21 Waterski Championships. Nautique is a National Sponsor of USA Water Ski & Wake Sports.